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Student murals will be a “beacon in the desert” in Fujairah
The mountainous Fujairah landscape will soon feature a series of original murals created by students from the College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) at American University of Sharjah (AUS), which will be painted onto four cement silos on the site of the JK White Cement plant. The four murals will serve as a “beacon in the midst of the desert,” breaking up the rugged landscape surrounding the site, which is located on the border of Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah.
The murals are the winning entries of a competition initiated by JK White Cement as part of the company’s corporate social responsibility program. JK White Cement is the second largest white cement producer in the world, meeting the supply demands of more than 40 countries across the world.
In March this year, architecture and design students from selected universities from across the UAE were invited to submit four original mural designs which would promote the UAE’s cultural heritage with main focus on core values, traditions, and progress made over the years.
The winning designs representing Fujairah’s unique architecture, heritage, natural resources and poetry were created by AUS students Ahmed Geaissa, Leen Jameel, Mark Shehata and Reem Elwazeer. The students worked together to complete the designs, taking full advantage of their multidisciplinary skills of multimedia design, visual communication, architecture and interior design to secure a shared prize of AED 40,000.
The students created their designs under the guidance of visiting lecturer Ahmad Saqfalhait from the Department of Art and Design at CAAD. Saqfalhait said the opportunity to be part of this competition adds long-term value to the students’ educational experience at AUS
“The main value of this experience was having the chance to bring together four students from different programs within CAAD and create a bond between them that would let them consider future collaborations on other projects after they graduate,” said Saqfalhait.
The bold monochrome designs will be painted directly onto the exterior walls of the four 50-meter-high cement silos of the Fujairah JK White Cement factory and will be visible to the public from various vantage points across the emirate.
“The art pieces are rendered in a black color that requires low maintenance and does not overpower the sensitive landscapes yet stands out like a beacon in the midst of the desert. Additionally, the use of simple geometric shapes allows for more simple production techniques, challenging traditional approaches to mural design and application. The result is a visual language that is both iconic as well as sustainable,” said Saqfalhait.
Amit Kothari, CEO of JK White Cement said, “JK White Cement UAE is the first cement company to organize such a competition in the region. Being one of the most advanced and modern technology UAE plants, we cater to white cement aesthetics and architectural applications in over 40 countries,” he said.
“JK White Cement, as a part of its CSR initiatives, has been associated with leading design and architectural colleges in GCC countries, and since 2014 we have been providing a platform for students as far as training and development is concerned,” said Kothari.
He added, “We wanted from this unique competition to urge the young generation to express themselves in the exceptional work that reflects the UAE culture and heritage, and appreciate the progress achieved by the leaders of this country and spread it to the future generations. It is an initiative that helps university students showcase their brilliance, creativity and artistry.”
“We would like to congratulate the American University of Sharjah for landing the first prize and the four students guided by Dr. Saqfalhait for the exceptional work they’ve done,” said Kothari.
The CAAD students worked together to submit their designs as a group and were selected based on their outstanding performance in their chosen major of study.
Multimedia design student Ahmad Geaissa said, "It’s a privilege to be able to represent CAAD in such a competition. Once complete, the murals will be a permanent mark that not only represents the beauty and heritage of Fujairah but also the quality of work that CAAD students can produce with the right guidance from their professors."
Architecture major Mark Shehata said, “The real impact of this competition is the collaboration between CAAD and JK White Cement that can potentially host architectural and cement-based research. I think that this is a real and positive opportunity for not only the UAE but potentially also the region."
For more information and news stories about the award-winning students from the College of Architecture, Art and Design at American University of Sharjah, visit www.aus.edu/caad.